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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Combining Radiotherapeutic with Antitumor Antibody and IL2 to Create a Potent In Situ Cancer Vaccine

UW–Madison is home to 2 separate teams (involving 5 separate laboratories), each working on cutting-edge disciplines in cancer treatment — one developing novel approaches to radiation, the other using tumor-reactive antibodies to muster the body’s own immune response to destroy tumors. Until now, the potential benefits of combining these novel approaches has not been explored.

Now, these two teams will work together. Their plan is to combine these two separate approaches (antibody-based immunotherapy and novel radiation therapy). Their goal is to kill a tumor in a way that results in the cancer cells acting as a vaccine that creates immunity to the cancer that created the tumor, thereby protecting the body from any spread or recurrence of that cancer.

Preliminary results, performed in mice, show that large tumors that do not respond to immunotherapy using antibody treatments aimed at sparking an anti-cancer immune response or to conventional radiation treatments (delivered from outside the body to individual tumors with beams of radiation) can be completely eradicated if the two are combined. This project will couple the antibody approach instead with novel forms of radiation, and study how to make it effective in a variety of tumor types. The aim is to produce the preclinical data needed to support steps to initiate human clinical trials of the combined treatments.

This project will be funded jointly by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education and the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center.

Principal Investigator

  • Paul Sondel

Co-Principal Investigators

  • Jamey Weichert
    Associate professor
  • Zachary Morris
    Assistant professor
    Human Oncology
  • Mario Otto
    Assistant professor
  • Bryan Bednarz
    Assistant professor
    Medical Physics